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31-year-old guitarist Julian Lage wasn’t even alive when pianist Fred Hersch made his first appearance on a GRAMMY-nominated recording (Art Farmer’s A Work of Art, 1981), yet the duo—one a young virtuoso, the other a living jazz legend—make a well-matched pair. Hersch, whose career is now entering its fourth decade, is an exceptionally versatile and innovative player, and his improvisatory genius shines on his first recording collaboration with the young Lage, 2013’s Free Flying. Lage, though, who first came to attention as an eight-year-old prodigy playing with Carlos Santana, easily holds his own with the more experienced Hersch. Of his partner, Hersch says, “For such a young musician, [he] has an old soul, is well aware of the entirety of the jazz language and is both a musical and technical virtuoso; he is both inspired and inspiring.”
Lage’s and Hersch’s collaboration suggests a number of different eras and genres, from Johann Sebastian Bach and other 17th-century composers to bebop jazz and contemporary composition. The interplay between the two master musicians (whose instrumental combination is evocative of the ultimate Baroque keyboard instrument) creates a complex counterpoint of interweaving melodies and variations, each of the skilled improvisers inspiring the other.
Julian Lage and Fred Hersch bring their improvisational duologue featuring both jazz standards and original selections to the Logan Center Performance Hall on Friday, October 18 at 7:30 pm.
Supported in part by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.